Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed that the two countries will join hands to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, during their telephone conversation on Wednesday.

Their talks came as China has been eager to bolster its influence in Afghanistan in the wake of the planned withdrawal of the U.S. military forces from the nation, with tensions between Beijing and Washington showing few signs of easing soon.

Xi was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as telling Putin that China stands ready to strengthen communication and coordination with Russia and the broader international community on the Afghanistan issue.

The Chinese president also called for concerted efforts to encourage all factions in Afghanistan to build an open and inclusive political structure through consultation and thoroughly dissociate from all terrorist groups, according to the news agency.

As for the novel coronavirus pandemic, Xi told Putin that China is ready to work with Russia to deepen cooperation on vaccine development and production.

Putin, meanwhile, said Russia is opposed to the politicization of COVID-19 tracing, as China and the United States have been at odds over the origins of the virus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

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